Not “just” in the summer or in the winter but on-and-off all year long.
It’s not a nice place nor is it a relaxing place.
It is a place where I spin my wheels, beat myself up for not having enough time or for having too much to do or for feeling too low in energy to face what I need to do.
It’s a place where that mean chick inside tells me I can’t hack what I need to hack.
It is a place called Overwhelm.
You have likely been there too. Overwhelm does different things to different people, and usually over and over again.
It is a pattern I effen’ hate dislike.
When super-ambitious and impatient people like me don’t see immediate results, we doubt, change course or cut the pursuit short, often killing it before its time.
I am one of those people who has an idea on a Tuesday, expects to have it fully developed by Wednesday, implemented on Thursday and reaping fabulous results by Friday afternoon.
So I’ve had a few days of overwhelm of late. Wasn’t sure what to work on first, where to focus, how to use my time and energy the best. I wanted to accomplish too much, and felt I hadn’t made progress anywhere. So I was super-annoyed with myself because I knew that it was my own self at the root of my overwhelm.
This time, however, as opposed to other times, I saw the emotions for what they were. I knew what was happening. I recognized the pattern and I allowed myself – I gave myself permission – to SLOW DOWN, to step away, to stop the madness.
Yes, I was in the thick of the same-old pattern, but I was ready to change something.
Then I saw this in a DailyOm email:
“The reappearance of a pattern is often a sign that we have come full circle and we are close to a new level of mastery.
Life is a circular journey through our issues and processes, and this is why things that are technically new often seem very familiar. It is also why, whenever we work to release a habit, change a pattern, or overcome a fear, we often encounter that issue one last time, even after we thought we had conquered it. Often, when this happens, we feel defeated or frustrated that after all our hard work we are still dealing with the same problem. However, the reappearance of a pattern, habit, or fear, is often a sign that we have come full circle, and that if we can maintain our resolve through one last test, we will achieve a new level of mastery in our lives.”
So here is what I know and think you do, too: The patterns will re-occur (that is why they are called “patterns,”). The litmus test for those of us committed to living a self-aware and truthful existence is not the expectation that they won’t come about — they do and they will! It is, rather, what we do when we find ourselves in those situations. Do we fall back on our same-old same-old M.O.? Or do we figure out where the weak link within (always inside, not outside) can be found and strengthen it? The latter is not easy. The latter is also the only way we will ever really grow.
So for me, this time, I let the overwhelm works its way through me and through those few days. I stepped back a bit. I didn’t push myself like I usually do. Instead, I went to Key West for a night with my boyfriend. I watched football and movies and didn’t feel guilty. I annoyed my kids more. I looked long and hard at the connects and disconnects around my schedule, my goals, my energy and my reality.
I feel like I did clear this hurdle. I have learned something since last week. I can’t view life as a sprint because, let’s face it, I am no sprinter. I do know I am three things: Self-aware, self-honest and willing to do the work of change. And I think that is what matters.
One day at a freakin time, folks, that’s the very best we can do.
And it is more than enough.